19 Sep 2015

Fiji fall short on Rugby World Cup opening night

12:02 pm on 19 September 2015
2015 Rugby World Cup Group A, Twickenham, London 18/9/2015
England fullback Mike Brown celebrates one of his two tries with team-mates
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

England fullback Mike Brown celebrates one of his two tries with team-mates Photo: Photosport

Fiji has lost its Rugby World Cup opening match after two Mike Brown tries helped a nervy England take out the match 35-11.

England scored four tries to one and led the Flying Fijians 18-8 at half-time, with Fiji having a try ruled out and missing several kickable penalties.

The side also copped a yellow card to their halfback Nikola Matawalu as a penalty try was awarded after 12 minutes, and England scored again 10 minutes later through fullback Mike Brown's close range effort.

But the English were also fortunate to escape their own yellow card for a high tackle off the ball.

Fiji fans in Nadi watch their team compete against England in the opening match of the Rugby World Cup.

Fiji fans in Nadi watch their team compete against England in the opening match of the Rugby World Cup. Photo: RNZI / Sally Round

It was an error-riddled first half and Fiji's halfback almost made amends when Matawalu seemingly scored an amazing solo try off the back of a scrum in the 27th minute.

But replays showed he just lost control of the ball on the line.

Crusaders wing Nemani Nadolo did score just two minutes later from a high ball after a turnover from the resulting scrum, and it was 18-8 to England at half-time.

2015 Rugby World Cup Group A, Twickenham, London 18/9/2015
Fiji’s Nemani Nadolo is all over Anthony Watson of England
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Fiji’s Nemani Nadolo is all over Anthony Watson of England Photo: Photosport

First-five Ben Volavola's penalty had put Fiji within seven points heading into the final quarter, before Brown eased home nerves with his second try in the 72nd minute.

Replacement Billy Vunipola then crossed again in the last minute to make sure of the victory, and what could be a crucial bonus point.

More than 80,000 fans watched the opening match of the six-week tournament at Twickenham Stadium in London.

The next Pacific team to play is Tonga, who have their first match against Georgia in Gloucester on Saturday (England time), while Samoa kick off against the United States in Brighton on Sunday.

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